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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Giffords’s recovery, spirit inspire all

    Watching Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ interview with Diane Sawyer might have brought out a wide range of emotions. Viewers most assuredly felt both happiness and sadness. Maybe some were inspired and maybe some were depressed. But as Giffords struggled to form sentences and often uttered only one word responses, it was truly an emotional moment for all.

    Giffords survived an attack on her life on Jan. 8 at an event in front of a Tucson grocery store and ever since, people have been enamored by her recovery. We watched with wide eyes as the news media reported on her surgery and day-to-day recovery at the University Medical Center. We were glued to the television as she was airlifted to Houston for physical therapy. Her story was captivating and we just had to know about each and every development. We yearned to know her progress.

    When her office released a couple photographs of Giffords posing and smiling last spring, it was amazing yet tragic. Here she was smiling after surviving an attack, yet one couldn’t help but notice she was changed. The interview with Sawyer shed further light on how much this attack changed Giffords’ life. She now walks with a limp, struggles to form sentences and often halts when trying to find words to respond to questions or comments. It’s truly heartbreaking to think about how much was taken from her.

    Even though there is so much that pulls at our heartstrings, there is still much about Giffords to be inspired and encouraged by. The Sawyer interview really drove that home. Even though she might not be able eloquently express it, the gears are still turning at rapid speed in Giffords’ brain. That same spirit is still there. It comes out when she responds to questions by repeating her answer three times, “Yes, yes, yes.” Her thoughtfulness is still there and it becomes apparent when Giffords pauses, then erupts with words and hand gestures. Best of all, her fight and motivation are still there.

    When asked if she planned on returning to Congress, Giffords said “better.” Her husband Mark Kelly explained she meant she needed to get “better” before she could. Giffords quickly followed it up with “tough, tough, tough” before saying “better” once again.

    Although she survived a tragedy, she has also faced an immeasurable uphill battle to return to even a semblance of normalcy. And yet, she has made unbelievable progress and will continue to do so. During the interview a clip was shown of Giffords breaking down and crying in the arms of her therapist. Her attempt at recovering the ability to speak and walk has been difficult and has tried her patience and will. All the while, Giffords has remained “tough, tough, tough.”

    It may be upsetting or sad to watch and think about the unfair struggle Giffords must face, but she is showing unimaginable courage and determination. Much was taken from Giffords, but her spirit and upbeat attitude could never be destroyed.

    — Storm Byrd is the perspectives editor. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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